Last updated on November 27th, 2023 at 08:32 pm
The importance of sleep can’t be overstated. Too little sleep doesn’t just leave you tired, it can do real harm to your physical and mental health. Do you struggle with getting a good night’s sleep?
It starts at birth– the problem of sleep. In the early years, we simply don’t want to sleep, fighting naptime, then later staying up well past any reasonable hour simply because we can. We’re adults now, and while most of us understand the importance of sleep and would love to squeeze in a few extra minutes of shut-eye, our lives just don’t allow for it.
The thing about sleep, though, is it’s actually a key ingredient to life itself. Here’s why sleep matters along with some ideas for how to get a good night’s sleep.
The Importance of Sleep and How to Get More Of It
Quality sleep tends to lead to less calorie intake.
Less calorie intake typically means a lower body weight. In fact, studies have shown that not getting enough sleep is a major risk factor for obesity in both children and adults. When we don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, we’re messing with a hormone that helps regulate our appetite. And who wants to get a good, hard workout in when they’re too sleepy to function?
Quality sleep can improve concentration and productivity.
Your brain needs the opportunity to regenerate properly. It does this while you sleep. When we don’t give our brains a chance to recover from the day, we’re setting ourselves up for a rough day ahead. It’s significantly more difficult to concentrate on the task before us when we’re short on sleep. We’re much more likely to make mistakes, sometimes serious ones, without quality sleep. Not only that, when you’re tired, you’re simply not going to get as much done during the day when most of your energy is spent trying to stay awake and focused!
Quality sleep can lower your risk of heart disease.
It seems a little strange, but it’s been proven in numerous studies that sleep has a serious impact on your heart. If you regularly get less than six hours of sleep, your risk of heart disease increases by nearly 50%! The older we get, the higher the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease without adequate rest.
Quality sleep can impact your emotions.
We don’t need studies to prove that lack of sleep tends to leave people a little grouchy–sometimes a lot grouchy. But it can also lead to depression. The longer we go without a series of good nights of sleep, the higher the risk of a depression. It’s truly amazing what a good night’s sleep can do to a mood!
Quality sleep can boost your immunity.
Your immune system is simply weaker when you’re short on sleep. Why do you think doctors emphasize the importance of sleep when trying to recover from illness? Our bodies need rest to both stave off sickness and recover from it.
6 tips for better quality sleep–
If you’re one of the 50+ million people in the US who would be thrilled to get more sleep but it’s a luxury you’re not sure you’ll ever be able to thoroughly enjoy, here are some tips to get you started toward the regular rest your body craves:
- Stick to a bedtime and wake time. When your body becomes familiar with a regular routine, it’ll begin to prepare itself for sleep for you.
- Avoid any kind of stimulants in the evenings. This includes consuming caffeine or alcohol and being on a device. You especially want to avoid being on a screen or even reading in bed as your bed is meant for sleep!
- Take naps sparingly. As badly as you may want to take one, it’ll likely interfere with your nighttime sleep, and you’ll be back to longing for a good nap the next day.
- Don’t lay there and stew. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, get up. Read a book in a chair, or just relax elsewhere until you feel tired. And don’t get all upset at yourself for not getting enough sleep.
- Choose a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits contribute to much better sleep.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable. Mattresses and pillows don’t last forever. Mattresses should be replaced by the time they are about eight years old. A new mattress is worth the cost when you consider that it can greatly improve your quality of sleep and even help with those annoying aches and pains so many of us wake up with.
I think it’s safe to say you can’t underestimate the importance of sleep! Just like you keep putting that stubborn baby down every afternoon for a nap or reprimanding your teen for staying up much too late, it’s time you take seriously the importance of sleep in your own life. The time to start is now!